This Mind-Blowing Music Video Is Actually 3,454 Oil Paintings

Illustrator Zachary Johnson took 8 months to create the animated music video for The Sea The Sea’s “Waiting.”

1. This is the music video for “Waiting,” the 12th track off of folk duo The Sea The Sea’s self-released album, “Love We Are We Love.”

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2. It’s five-and-a-half minutes of audiovisual perfection, and is also OVER THREE THOUSAND individual oil paintings in sequence.

Zachary Johnson

Zachary Johnson


3. In an interview with BuzzFeed, artist Zachary Johnson explained how he got involved in making the video.

The Made Shop / Via

The Made Shop did this really beautiful, massive hand-made mobile of lettering for The Sea The Sea’s cover art, evoking a murmuration of birds,” said Johnson. “I work as The Made Shop’s illustrator in addition to my own painting, so when The Sea The Sea contacted them to see if they knew of anyone to do an animated music video, my brother Marke recommended me.”

4. He also explained the process of making a five-and-a-half minute rotoscope animation.

Zachary Johnson / Via

“This is a rotoscope animation, so I shot and edited a reference video to work from before I began painting each frame by hand. That first month of coming up with the concept, honing it with the band, editing the visuals to the dynamics of the song — that was the fun, creative part. And then it was just kind of time to sit down in my kitchen and paint lots of little pictures for the next seven months.”

5. Though it took Johnson five months longer than anticipated, The Sea The Sea’s Mira Stanley and Chuck E. Costa (pictured below performing in Duluth, MN) were pretty cool about it.

The Sea The Sea / Via Facebook: theseatheseamusic

“It became clear pretty early on that I had maybe bitten off a bit more than I could chew, but they really believed in the concept and were very encouraging the whole time.”

Their album, “Love We Are We Love,” was released in February of 2014.

6. And for anyone who’s curious, this is what eight months’ worth of hand-painted animation looks like stacked on a table.

Zachary Johnson


7. More of Johnson’s work can be seen on his website, and The Sea The Sea is currently playing shows along the East Coast.

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